Lake Placid vs Anaconda – Franchises Battle For Your Love on SyFy!

Lake Placid vs Anaconda

Where are the buns? I was promised buns!!

SyFy is caught in a crossroads of trying to transform into a respectable source of original science fiction programming, while still having a backlog of creature feature films to unload. Even worse for them, many of these films are event films that normally would get a lot of fanfare. But true to form, SyFy isn’t promoting Lake Placid vs Anaconda much at all, and seems content for it to get swept under the rug.

The whole situation has been perplexing for the past two years. The monster movies still air a LOT on SyFy’s schedules, but they rarely add anything new. Lake Placid vs Anaconda is the first new film in months, and we won’t get more until July drops a whole week’s worth of new movies.

Lake Placid vs Anaconda is the fifth movie in both franchises, something that is surprising even as someone who follows SyFy flicks and knows about all the prior DTV sequels of both. It just seems so weird. And now they are fighting, which will hopefully make this the most awesome of all the non-J-Lo and non-Betty White entries of the franchises.

The co-CEO of a pharmaceutical company ruthless, Sarah Murdoch is determined to finish the work of her late father to find a serum capable of triggering cell regeneration; Unfortunately, in addition to an orchid, the other two elements necessary to perfect the serum is a particularly aggressive breed of giant crocodiles and anacondas, both of which Sarah is working hard to track down. However, its alteration with wildlife refuge releases both the crocodile’s and anaconda’s, that wind up threatening, among others, the daughters of a local college sorority, who went to the beach for a pledge event. With her twin brother and co-CEO Brian Murdoch actively trying to stop her, Sarah’s efforts lead to more horrible deaths, but several potential love between Brian and the new Sheriff, Reba, and many of sorority girls and their counterparts in the fraternity.

Hopefully the winner then takes on another random franchise. Or maybe we’ll get an Expendables-style team up of random franchises some day.

Lake Placid vs Anaconda is directed by A.B. Stone (his first feature) and written by Berkeley Anderson (Robocroc, Grendel, Dragon Dynasty). It stars Nigel Barber, Jeffrey Beach, Yancy Butler, Robert Englund, and most importantly —> Corin Nemec!!!!! I could watch Corin Nemec watch paint dry for two hours.

Lake Placid vs Anaconda airs Saturday, April 25th, on SyFy!

Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators

Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators

aka Alligator Alley
Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators
Story by Rafael Jordan Pujals
Screenplay by Delondra Williams and Keith Allan
Directed by Griff Furst (as Louis Myman)

I love it when they wiggle on the way down!

Cajun dudes, bayou creole accents, fancy blue moonshine, family rivalries, even a banjo player who can’t talk. Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Gators serves up the full buffet of bayou stereotypes. It also serves up a heaping load of killer mutant gators and some horrible body modification mess.

Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators differs in tone from a lot of SyFy’s pictures because it’s a lot more darker. The origin of the monsters turns into a tragedy, and the heroine Avery must reluctantly deal with the consequences and ending the terror. It’s actually horrifying what transpires, basically her entire family is transformed into mutant killer gators after eating the flesh of a slain mutant killer gator. Thus, to save the rest of the town and the planet from the threat of her relatives, who are now mindless killing machines, she has to destroy them. Worse yet, there are clues that the gators have at least some memories of their human lives.

Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators

I ate the blueberry Kool-Aid!

I give credit to the script for delivering the unexpected twist of being forced to slaughter your own family. Rafael Jordan came up with the story and Keith Allan and Delondra Williams turned it into the final film. Griff Furst helps breath life to it, directing under his pseudonym. I especially love how they turn the resident gator expert on it’s ear, you’re expecting a Steve Irwin clone, but instead you get a riff on The Dog Whisperer!

The Gator Whisperer being a complete wackjob is a humorous element needed as the film turns darker. His whole schtick of being an expert who can talk alligators into being docile creatures ends in the bloody way you imagine it will for him and his entire crew. I guess some time slots just opened up on his station!

Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators suffers from an obviously suffering budget, the mutant alligators are barely distinguishable from the standard crocodile models used in these SyFy films. After the Doucettes are all turned into alligators, there only seems to be like five people left in town. The urgency to save the rest of the town sort of goes away if there isn’t people in the town.

Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators

They will live happily ever after like Romeo and Juliet. Wait a minute…

Despite some innovations and some neat tricks, Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators fails to rise above the crop, instead languishing with the average SyFy creature features. While that is good enough for those who enjoy them, it’s not going to impress the viewers who are looking for the next gimmick creature feature to turn into a viral hashtag. That’s okay, because SyFy shouldn’t be making films just for viral hits, they should be making films that turn into good films. Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators just fills the status quo, a type of film that you’ll know before you watch whether you’ll find it interesting. I shall always push for films to be greater, no matter which network they originate from.

Avery Doucette (Jordan Hinson) – City girl who returns to the bayou community where she grew up to visit her family, ends up dealing with family feuds, mutant gators, and terrible tragedies.
Dathan Robichaud (John Chriss) – Robichaud heir who was childhood secret lovers with Avery, one of the few responsible people in town, though he’s still a jerk at times. Appointed to the police after they’re left shorthanded, but also bit by one of the gators that turns you into a gator. That spells trouble…
Lucien “Lou” Doucette (Ritchie Montgomery) – Avery’s dad and swamping expert. Lucien Doucette has a “boom stick” to help him hunt gators as gator season begins. His barbeque of the mutant gator ends up destroying his entire family as they’re all turned into mutant gators. Really hates the Robichauds.
Wade Robichaud (Thomas Francis Murphy) – Robichaud patriarch who also makes illegal moonshine, now with added mystery chemicals from the internet. Chemicals that are mutating gators. Whoops! Really hates the Doucettes.
Sheriff Landry (???) – Sheriff of this small town that has to deal with mutant gators and two rival families battling it out.
Tristan Sinclair (Victor Webster) – Known as The Gator Whisperer, Tristan Sinclair comes to town to try to solve the mutant gator problem. Instead, he becomes dinner.
The Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators (CGI) – Mutant gators with tail spikes and red necks. They can throw their tail spikes at victims. Bites or eating their flesh will turn you into one. This happens to a majority of the cast.

Ragin Cajun Redneck Gators

Hi! We’re mutant gators that hover 1 inch above the grass. Because we’re mutants.

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Written by Berkeley Anderson
Directed by Arthur Sinclair

Robocroc gets some hang time!

Robocroc! So much promise in that title, and yet what we get is a complete mess saved only by the high caliber actors being awesome. But sadly they are not awesome enough, and Robocroc becomes less worthy of your time. Recent SyFy films have focused on gimmick kills and ridiculous premises. Robocroc doesn’t really feature either of them, but they wouldn’t have helped, as the real problem is the confusion as to how the film is brought together. Minus commercials, it’s almost 29 minutes before we get a confirmed kill by Robocroc (though dialogue later establishes that other characters died. Characters we don’t see get killed!) One of the great pieces for advice for storytelling is “show, don’t tell”, and we should have seen the soldiers getting killed. Even if you avoided that, you could imply things enough that we knew the soldiers were getting killed. Instead, all that is shown is what looks like someone injured.


This film is a crock!

There was a famous story years ago about the formula for SyFy films (back when they were SciFi Channel films), and the rules included that we see the monster all the time and there needed to be a kill every few minutes to keep the audience interested. Robocroc violates the second rule, which is surprising for what looks like a film especially made for SyFy. I don’t fault a film for deviating from the established guidelines, but I prefer when films do, that they do so because it makes the film better. And while I was surprised several characters lived, the story didn’t really take any risks. But maybe I’m being too hard on Robocroc.

It’s fun watching Corin Nemec, Steven Hartley, and Dee Wallace act the crap around everyone else. What looks like a good chunk of the cast was hired locally wherever it was film (Bulgaria?), and a few of them are dubbed over and have the acting skills of paint drying. Yeah, I don’t know what that expression means, either, but it fits. Corin Nemec is awesome, obviously having a fun time being a cool zookeeper and completely avoids becoming a Steve Irwin clone, despite the hints from the script that it is what the writers had in mind. It is a good choice, allowing the character to be unique. Dee Wallace’s sinister scientist character makes you wonder just how far she’s willing to go to test her weapon. Then you watch her blow right past that and get even more evil. All she needed to be the most evil was to feed babies to Robocroc. Steven Hartley was just awesome, acting like a grizzled military commander who has probably fought all sorts of random robot monsters doing retrieval work.

Robocroc does get some props for calling out of the behavior of the creepy guy who is friends with Rob Duffy, every other character (except Rob) treats him like a horrible person, and Rob isn’t very fond of how Creepy Guy keeps getting him in trouble. Creepy Guy’s attempt to perv on some bikini babes gets him dunked into the pool. Later he gets grabby on the dance floor and that gets him locked in the bathroom. Creepy Guy is just a character you want to die. And the film teases and teases and then… Well, sometimes life ain’t fair!

Robocroc has a bit of social commentary on the use of drones/automated weapons. It seems to be against them, because they’ll turn into killing machines that will kill anyone.


Seeing Sydney’s boyfriend get killed is so hot! ::smooch smooch smooch::

Part of Robocroc‘s confusion is just what kind of park they are at. It looks like a random zoo, which is usually just a zoo. But in fact it’s part of a huge entertainment complex that is largely a water park and ATV range. We aren’t told this, we just suddenly cut to those things and wonder why Robocroc is running around there, until later in the film explaining it’s all part of the same complex. I guess they did show, not tell. But this could have been explained in a simple line of dialogue or even a voice announcement! Gah! Robogah!

Jim Duffy (Corin Nemec) – Biologist who takes care of the reptiles at this aquatic park/zoo. Was long ago on a tv reality show related to his crocodiles. Spends his nights getting drunk and coming to work hung over. Rob’s father. Check out the awesome Corin Nemec battling more SyFY beasts in Sea Beast and Raging Sharks
Colonel Montgomery (Steven Hartley) – Military commander in charge of retrieving the space nanobots. Despite all that, Dr. Riley seems to outrank him on some decisions. Is not fond of these experiments, but gets the job done (at least until he’s eaten!) (Spoilers)
Jane Spencer (Lisa McAllister) – new biologist at the marine park hired on the very day that things go crazy. Is a daughter of one of the board trustees, and also was a big fan of Jim Duffy’s tv show, even though she doesn’t admit it until the end of the film. Spoilers.
Dr. Riley (Dee Wallace) – Designer of the space nanobots that were just supposed to go to space and survive, and are now eating people while in crocodile form. A field test is a field test, and Dr. Riley wants the space nanobots to succeed at all costs.
Rob Duffy (Jackson Bews) – Son of Jim Duffy, hangs around at his dad’s workplace with his creepy friend Hud so they can hit on hot chicks. Eventually recruited to help get a band of teens he’s part of out of the park safely, though Rob keeps leading them into danger because the body count has to be higher!
Sydney (Florence Brudenell-Bruce) – Bikini-clad girl who Rob is crushing on and helps save from the Robocroc. Her presumable boyfriend gets chomped, but despite being broken up about it, Sydney is totally into Rob by the end of the film. Nicknamed Flee, Florence Brudenell-Bruce is a model/actress who briefly dated Prince Harry and appeared in the Bollywood film Love Aaj Kal
Robocroc (CGI) – Formerly a docile Australian saltwater crocodile named Stella, the addition of space nanobots turned her into a robotic hardcore killer.


Still better than Transformers 2!

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Beauty on Duty (Review)

Beauty on Duty

aka Mei lai muk ling

Directed and Written by Wong Jing

Wong Jing takes Miss Congeniality and 9000 characters and mixes them in a blender to pump out his latest wacky romcom (that’s cool people slang for “romantic-comedy”) that is so Wong Jing you’re gonna wong your jing. Or something like that. Like all Wong Jing romcoms, we got more potential couples and love octagons than you can shake a stick at. We have such familiar situations as the people who were lovers in school and then went their separate ways for 20 years, will they get together again now that they have reunited? Don’t forget the people who had crushes on other people and followed them around hiding behind trees. How will they find love? Let’s also give honor to the couple that is the main male character and the main female character. Because, they pretty much have to get together despite the super rich pop star wandering around in the middle of it all.

As there are so many characters and we’re trying to keep the length of this review to a passable level, the Roll Call will only list some of the cast, the rest will be brought up as the plot overview demands.

Chung Ai Fang (Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin) – A rookie cop joining up to be with her father on the force suddenly becomes the undercover beauty pageant agent who must save the girl without blowing her cover. Tough to do when you get pinned as the top contestant by the media. Charlene Choi is half of the pop super-duo Twins and previously was on TarsTarkas.NET in Protégé de la Rose Noire.
Iron Mary (Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu) – the tough police woman who slaps around criminals like they were candy. Or something. Was the childhood sweetheart of Officer Lu Chi On who suddenly reenters her life during this assignment. See Sandra Ng in The Eight Hilarious Gods
Donnie Yuen (Fan Siu-Wong) – Awesome cop guy about to join the SWAT team but instead has to help with the undercover investigation. Of course Ricky from Story of Ricky is a supercop!
Indiana Chung (Hui Siu-Hung) – Legendary cop who wants daughter to marry a rich dude so he can retire. Hui Siu-Hung has been in a ton of films, including being somewhere in Protégé de la Rose Noire.
Brother Ting (Wong Jing) – The evil mobster is Wong Jing, also the writer and director! Wong Jing’s movies include such wonders as My Kung Fu Sweetheart and Future Cops
June (Maggie Li Man-Kwan) – The daughter of an accountant who is testifying against Brother Ting, but only if June is allowed to participate in the beauty pageant.

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The Brutal River (Review)

The Brutal River

aka Khoht phetchakhaat

Chartchai Ngamsan as Jamnong Phimaan
Jirapat Wongpaisarn as Pikul Phimaan
Worapod Cha’am as Narinthorn
Lukana Lisani as Karaked
Directed by Anat Yuangngern

Hey, America is not the only country that can produce SciFi Channel films where a giant CGI animal kills people; Thailand can create them as well! Even though it probably has no chance of ever appearing on the SciFi Channel, Brutal River is in spirit similar to the many dozens of films that premiere to the world on that network. Sure, the opening scrawl claims it’s based on a true story, but CGI carnage is the same in every language. A few problems, the pacing is way off, and the movie has habits of dragging, making it seem like it’s much longer than it is, while SciFi Channel flicks usually try to show the monster every 10-15 minutes or so for fresh kills. Oddly enough, other parts of the movie are pulled off quite well, as the film jumps back into quality B-movie territory. Thai film has received a boost recently due to the works of Tony Jaa becoming popular, the quality film Beautiful Boxer, and works of director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. Thai horror has also started to creep around into the public conscious thanks to the general Asian horror leakage. Thus, Brutal River is born! The best selling point of The Brutal River is one of the neat poster one-sheets, which is included with the rest of the screencaps here. I don’t want to say that Brutal River is a terrible film, but it’s just infected with its plot slowdowns ruining the pacing of the film worse than a rogue crocodile would ruin the local canal of a Thai village. That makes it a terrible film, even if you can get enjoyment from it.

Though I’ve watched several Thai films (okay, 2 Thai films), I am still a novice in identifying the actors and local nuances that define Thai cinema and culture. Chartchai Ngamsan (who plays Nong) seems to be the local heartthrob to bring out the ladies. He’s probably best known over here for the cultish Tears of the Black Tiger. Chirapat Wongpaisanlux (or Jirapat Wongpaisarn as she went by in this film) playing Pikulwould be one of our hot women, as well as Lukana Lisani (playing Ked) as the other hot girl. Following traditional Asian fame, many of these people probably have singing careers in addition to their acting careers. It would be nice to know any of that, but English information on any of them is scanty, and Google translations are far more miss than hit. We’ll just make up some facts to fill out the rest of the paragraph. Chartchai Ngamsan owns a riverboat casino and spends most of his non-acting time singing lounge acts onboard. He is the best Robert Goulet impersonator in Asia. Chirapat Wongpaisanlux spends most of her spare time spelling her name in various different ways so she’ll never be credited under the same spelling twice. This compulsion is due to her being trapped alone in an empty closet as a child with only a Scrabble board game for company.

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Blood Surf (Review)

Blood Surf

aka Krocodylus



Dax Miller as Bog Hall
Tara Reif as Arti
Joel West as Jeremy
Maureen Larrazabal as Lemmya
Kate Fischer as Cecily

You all remember the time when all the crazy kids were Blood Surfing, it was the biggest rage this side of Sidehacking. Or maybe not. But the fools in this movie do it, and I will venture to say this is the greatest Blood Surfing movie of all time! It opens in a plane full of doofuses who are getting psyched up to try Blood Surfing at some remote island known for surfing. Blood Surfing is when you cut your feet and then go surfing, trailing blood, and attracting sharks behind you. A documentary is planned on the blood surfing exploits of Bog (yes, Bog) and Jeremy, with camera lady Cecily and slimy producer Zack Jardine. Cecily is dating Jardine, but Bog has an interest in her. Jeremy, however, is your typical “Whoa, gnarly, totally awesome!” extreme sporter stereotype, while Bog is surf-obsessed who lives, breathes, and craps while surfing. Continue reading